If your breastmilk supply is low a nursing vacation could be just what you need to get your boobs producing the goods again.
The word vacation conjures up visions of ditching nursing for a long weekend at the beach where your boobs get a break and you get to drink cocktails.
Sorry, that’s not what this is about!
A nursing vacation is where you take two to three days to just stay at home and focus solely on nursing your baby.
You don’t do any housework. You don’t take visitors. You don’t go out shopping.
This is where you take a few days to just focus on feeding, feeding and more feeding.
Why take a nursing vacation
So what’s the point in a nursing vacation?
It gives you a focus on breastfeeding to deal with any issues that you’re having.
The trouble with nursing is that it’s intense. When you’re trying to factor in breastfeeding on demand around the many other things you have to do, you may hit problems.
Taking a nursing vacation means you cut out all of the other noise and chores in your life right now, and focus solely on feeding your baby.
When you remove other stressful elements of your life – work, cleaning the house, dashing to appointments – and just feed your baby, you’ll hopefully find that you relax a lot more.
And relaxing is so important for breastfeeding. Part of the point of a breastfeeding vacation is to lie in bed for the duration and just enjoy being lazy!
The number one reason for taking a nursing vacation is having a low milk supply.
Symptoms of a low milk supply could include:
Baby not gaining weight.
Baby is fussy after feeds.
Baby is demanding feeds constantly.
Not enough wet and dirty nappies.
While there are a number of things you can do to boost your breast milk supply, the number one thing on the list is always going to be feed your baby as often as possible!
There’s no point in embarking on a huge lactation boosting diet if your baby isn’t at your nipple stimulating your supply frequently.
So this is where the nursing vacation comes in!
It means you strip off, plus you strip your baby off, because skin to skin is brilliant for boosting your milk supply.
Then you lay down with them and just give in to every single demand for a feed. No dummies to interrupt and no bottles to supplement the supply.
This can be exhausting, and that’s why you book three days off to do it. When it’s all you’re doing, then you won’t see it as such a struggle.
By taking all of the pressure off in the other areas of your life, you can reduce anxiety and stress, which are huge drains when it comes to milk production.
Tips for taking a nursing vacation
Tell your family and friends
If you just switch off your phone and lock the door, people are going to worry and start turning up at your house.
Or they’ll think things are business as usual, and pop round for the normal morning coffee and chat.
Tell people your plan and ask them to give you some space for a few days. If they ask how they can help, ask for extra food for the freezer. If anyone asks to take the baby for a walk so you can have a break, say this would be helpful in a few days’ time but you want to stick close to the baby for the next few days.
Stock the fridge and cupboards with healthy food
Your diet when breastfeeding is really important, not just for nurturing the baby but also for your milk supply.
Foods that can help to improve your supply include lots of fruits and vegetables, and particularly things such as:
- Dark green, leafy vegetables
- Sesame seeds
- Whole grans such as brown rice
During this time avoid foods such as alcohol, because this can cause dehydration and may hinder the efforts you’re trying to put in to boosting your milk supply.
There are lots more tips for what to eat to boost your milk supply over on this post.
Sleep with your baby
Snuggle up with your baby in bed, being sure to follow safe co-sleeping recommendations.
If you don’t have a television in your bedroom, then get boxsets downloaded to your phone or tablet.
This is all about relaxation and resting,
Stock up on essentials
Make sure you have plenty of maternity pads, nursing pads and any other essential items that you use every day.
You don’t want any interruptions where you have to dash out to the shops.
Have comfy clothes
One of the best ways to boost your milk supply is having skin to skin contact with your baby.
So during your nursing vacation you will need to be as naked as possible.
But of course there may still be occasions when you want to wear something. So have some comfy jogging bottoms and very simple T-shirt or vest top to wear as and when you need them.
Keep yourself warm
Make sure you’re cosy, and your baby too. Keeping yourself physically comfortable will help you mentally relax, which is great for your milk supply.
Pick out a good boxset
Three days will be tiring, and maybe a bit boring. Get something good on Netflix and binge watch it!
Try adding in some power pumping
Your baby will not want to feed 24/7 of course, but it will help your supply if you can pump a little while your baby is asleep.
Power pumping involves 10 minutes on the pump, then a break of 20 minutes, then pumping again for 10.
You could freeze whatever you pump to build up your supply for bottle feeds.
Try breast compressions
Some gentle massage to your breasts both during and after feeding can help to stimulate the supply and get the milk flowing.
Hopefully this has given you lots of ideas for taking your nursing vacation! Find lots more tips for boosting breast milk supply over on this post.